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2 consecutive life sentences for James "Whitey" Bulger

Wisconsin residents may be interested in the outcome of the notorious James "Whitey" Bulger trial that has been going on in Boston. After being found guilty of 11 murders and other gang-related crimes, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang was given two consecutive life sentences, plus five years. Originally, Bulger had been charged with 19 murders.

According to one of Bulger's lawyers, Bulger was not allowed to prepare his criminal defense the way he would have liked. The accused mob boss was barred from testifying against a now-deceased federal prosecutor. In his defense, Bulger's lawyer says his client would have argued that the prosecutor had given him immunity to commit the crimes he was charged for. Bulger's lawyer did say, however, that his client was pleased he had stayed true to his principles by remaining silent during the court proceedings.

Bulger, now 84, had disappeared from Boston in 1994 after allegedly being alerted to an upcoming indictment against him. For over 16 years, Bulger was able to evade capture until authorities discovered him living in an apartment in Santa Monica, California. During his time as a fugitive, information came out that FBI agents had protected him in exchange for bribes.

After being charged with crimes related to racketeering, accused people may wish to build a defense that distances their actions from those of the alleged criminal organization. Although a person may choose to plead guilty to a charge, establishing that the crime had no relation to a criminal organization may help the person to avoid further charges of conspiracy and racketeering.

Source: The Guardian, "James 'Whitey' Bulger jailed for life for racketeering, murder and extortion", November 14, 2013

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